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This article is about the town in England. For other uses of the name, see Blackpool (disambiguation).
Borough of Blackpool
Status: Unitary, Borough
Region: North West England
Ceremonial County: Lancashire
- Total
Ranked 330th
34.92 km²
Admin. HQ: Blackpool
Grid reference: SD305365
ONS code: 00EY
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
Ranked 116th
4,079 / km²
Ethnicity: 98.4% White
Arms of Blackpool Borough Council
Blackpool Borough Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
Executive: Labour
MPs: Joan Humble, Gordon Marsden
The Tower, Blackpool
The Tower, Blackpool

Blackpool is a seaside town in England, on the coast of the Irish Sea. It is traditionally part of Lancashire but on April 1, 1998 was made into an independent unitary authority.

It is believed to get its name from a long gone drainage channel which ran over a peat bog. The water which ran into the sea at Blackpool was black from the peat and formed a "black pool" in the relatively clean waters of the Irish Sea.

It is generally believed locally that people originating from Blackpool are called "Sand Grown" or "Sandgrown'uns," but these terms may be applied to natives of any littoral settlement; the correct appellation is "Blackpudlian" (on the model of "Liverpudlian", namely a native of Liverpool).

The town boundaries are drawn very tightly, and exclude the nearby settlements of Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde and Lytham St Anne's. Blackpool Borough, unlike its neighbours, is almost completely urbanised.

Blackpool is also seen as the hometown of the rockband Jethro Tull. Bandleader Ian Anderson grew up in Blackpool, and founded the precursor of the band here.



Blackpool is heavily dependent on tourism. Major attractions include:

In what is often regarded as its heyday (1900-1960), Blackpool heaved as the factory workers of northern England took their annual holidays there en masse. Any photograph from that era shows large crowds on the beach and promenade. Blackpool was also a preferred destination of visitors from Glasgow and remains so to this day. The town still has more hotel beds than the whole of Portugal. The town went into decline when cheap air travel arrived in the 1960s and the same workers decamped to the Mediterranean coast resorts due to competitive prices and the more reliably favourable weather. Today, many visitors stay for the weekend rather than for a week at a time. Blackpool is continually striving to improve its position within today's tourist industry. One controversial proposal, which has the involvement of the local council, is to transform Blackpool into a casino resort along the lines of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, making it the centre point of gambling in the UK. This plan is dependent on the selection of Blackpool as the location of Britain's first "super-casino", following the slight liberalisation of Britain's gambling laws.

A controversial aspect of Blackpool's night-life is its hen and stag parties. Brides or bridegrooms-to-be respectively, along with their friends, often dressed alike in absurd or risqué attire, roam the town's many bars and clubs getting increasingly drunk. Their rowdy behaviour is claimed to discourage family visitors and has led to complaints from hotel and guest house owners keen to attract a more upmarket clientele.

Blackpool has gained renown as a lesbian and gay destination, with clubs such as the Flamingo and Mardi Gras, the Flying Handbag pub, and many gay-only hotels and guest-houses. These tend to be inland, nearer to the North station than the sea front.

Blackpool remains a major summer entertainment venue, specialising in variety shows featuring entertainers such as Ken Dodd. Outside the main holiday season, Blackpool's Winter Gardens routinely hosts major political and trade union conferences, ranging from that of the Conservative Party and the TGWU with thousands of delegates and visitors, to substantially smaller gatherings such as the CWU or NUS conferences.

Blackpool Illuminations in September and October, consisting of a series of lighted displays and collages arranged along the entire length of the sea front (11 km/7 miles), attract many visitors at a time when other resorts' holiday seasons have ended.

Non-tourist industry

Major employers include:

  • The government-owned National Savings and Investments, based at Marton, together with their random number generating computer ERNIE which picks the Premium Bond numbers.
  • Other Government Agencies based at Warbreck and Norcross.
  • Burtons Foods, producing biscuits and other bakery products.
  • Arvin Meritor, which manufactures automotive components.
  • The Glasdon Group, known for its plastic products including litter bins, park benches and reflective road signs.

Many Blackpool residents work in the retail sector, either in the town centre or the retail parks on the edge of town.

Transport infrastructure

The town's tramway was for a long time Britain's only working tramway outside of museums. Other cities have been rebuilding their networks since the late 20th century.

Blackpool had two railway termini with a total of over 30 platforms, mainly used by excursion traffic in the summer. Blackpool Central, close to the Tower, was closed in 1964, whilst Blackpool North was largely demolished and rebuilt as a smaller facility. The route of the former excursion line into Blackpool Central is now used as a link road from the M55 motorway to the town centre. The original 'main line' into Blackpool via Lytham St Annes now has a station serving Blackpool Pleasure Beach but terminates at Blackpool South station. The line into North station is now the more important.

Blackpool Airport operates regular charter and scheduled flights. The airport is actually in St Annes although a proposal to reorganise Blackpool's borders would see the airport incorporated into Blackpool Borough.

The M55 motorway links the town to the national motorway network.

Blackpool in film

The resort is featured in the 1934 film Sing as We Go, starring Gracie Fields, as well as other cinema and TV productions, including Funny Bones (1995) starring Lee Evans and Oliver Platt and directed by Blackpool born Peter Chelsom.

The Japanese film Shall We Dance (1996) closes with a scene at the World Ballroom Dancing Championships in Blackpool. All the hair styling for the film was completed by Blackpool born and bred hairstylist Eileen Clough, who has been in the trade since the 1960's. In the Hollywood remake of the film (2004) Blackpool is mentioned but not shown. The remake was also directed by Peter Chelsom.

Blackpool is the setting for Bhaji on the Beach (1993) directed by Gurinder Chadha.

Local media

Local attractions, culture, and facilities

External links

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Counties with multiple districts: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside

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